Voters assert themselves as Taiwanese in a warning to KMT

Written by Bruce Jacobs. Taiwan’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has won an unprecedented landslide victory in the country’s local elections. The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) won only one of Taiwan’s six largest “special municipalities” in voting on Saturday and this by a very narrow margin. Elsewhere, the DPP won unexpected victories in many counties and …

Taiwan: A Great Choosing Day is Coming (pt II)

Written by John Keane. As recently as two decades ago, free and fair elections were unimaginable for most citizens of Taiwan. Ground down by martial law, public conformity ran deep. Those who refused the ruling power were punished, often harshly. Heads-down cynicism flourished. The regime had mastered the dark arts of rigging elections. State-sanctioned factions, …

Crass electoral politics and the role of a militant civil society

Written by J. Michael Cole. Merely 48 hours to go before Taiwanese across the nation cast their votes in the nine-in-one local elections. With regulations barring the release of polling data ten days prior to the election, one can only now speculate about how each party, along with independent candidates, will fare on Nov. 29. What …

Taiwan: A Great Choosing Day is Coming

Written by John Keane. For democrats, made in Taiwan is a seductive brand with definite global appeal. ‘Through the promotion of its democratic ideals’, says a stylishly confident pamphlet published recently by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Taiwan has managed to build a significant amount of soft power around the world.’ The truth buried in …

Taiwan’s 9-in-1 Contest: Is it a “Midterm Election”?

Written by Shelley Rigger. Barack Obama and Ma Ying-jeou were both elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. Today, both face intractable problems and waning popularity – and two more years in office. They must also manage the results of nation-wide elections held in November 2014, halfway through their second terms. It is not surprising …

The battle for third place: Prospects for Taiwan’s small parties in local elections

Written by Dafydd Fell. On November 29 Taiwan will hold its Nine in One Local Elections. This refers to the nine different types of elections that range from special municipality mayors such as for Taipei City down to village and neighbourhood chiefs at the grassroots level. These elections are extremely important for a number of …

The Soft Power of Local Elections

Written by Stefan Braig. One of the core elements of Taiwan’s soft power and public diplomacy is its self-portrayal as the beacon of democracy among ethnic Chinese societies. While for the green camp, democracy is something that sets Taiwan apart from China, for the ruling KMT democracy is what makes Taiwan a model for future …

Elections in a time of democratic malaise

Written by J. Michael Cole. On Nov. 29 millions of Taiwanese will once again exert their hard-earned right to choose the men and women who will represent them at the local level for the next four years in nationwide elections of unprecedented scope. Known as the nine-in-one elections, this democratic exercise involves mayors, chiefs, councilors, …

Is Hong Kong China’s future?

Written by Sam Crane. The media spotlight has shifted away from Hong Kong toward President Obama’s visit to Beijing, but students and activists remain in Admiralty and Mong Kok, and their demands for political change have not softened. It seems highly unlikely that they will gain the specific goal they have set for themselves – …

Why China won’t back down on Hong Kong

Written by Shujie Yao. Obviously, many Hong Kongers are not happy with the way their territory has been governed since it was returned to China in 1997. The recent protests have escalated to such a scale that the central Chinese authority has referred to it as an “illegal” mass demonstration, the likes of which is …